Justice Department officials filed a formal request, Monday, demanding that Britain’s Prince Andrew, who was known to be a close friend of convicted pedophile Jeffery Epstein, submit to questioning in their investigation of Epstein’s global sex assault and sex trafficking ring.
“The request, made under a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, or MLAT, is similar to a subpoena in this case for Prince Andrew’s testimony,” NBC News reported Monday. “It’s a rare move to seek an interview like this through MLAT, officials say, and it’s focused on making sure the investigation is as thorough as possible.”
The request was submitted to the United Kingdom’s Home Office, CNN added, the department of the U.K. government responsible for security matters.
The Department of Justice says that, despite public claims to the contrary, Prince Andrew has been unwilling to answer investigators’ questions about his relationship with Epstein and Epstein’s one-time girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, who is suspected of helping to run Epstein’s global sex trafficking ring. Prince Andrew admitted that he was friends with Epstein and Maxwell in a disastrous interview with the BBC’s “Newsnight.”
Questions also remain as to whether Prince Andrew participated in Epstein’s notorious parties, where Epstein paired rich and famous men with young girls. Prince Andrew denies any involvement with the operation. The DOJ said Monday that the Prince is not a target in their probe.
“Federal investigators have been trying for months to speak with the Duke of York, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II and a longtime friend of Epstein’s who has been accused by one woman of sexual abuse,” NBC News reported Monday, explaining the DOJ’s decision to issue a subpoena to Prince Andrew.
Prince Andrew’s legal team fired back at the DOJ, claiming “that the DOJ reacted to the first two offers of assistance by breaching its own confidentiality rules and claiming that Prince Andrew has offered zero cooperation.”
The team insists that Prince Andrew has offered to serve as a witness and answer questions. “Far from our client acting above the law, as has been implied by press briefings in the U.S., he is being treated by a lower standard than might reasonably be expected for any other citizen,” the team added. “In [issuing the statement, the DOJ] are perhaps seeking publicity rather than accepting the assistance proffered.”
Investigators have had difficulty piecing together the elements of Epstein’s operation. Epstein himself committed suicide in jail last year after being hit with a new round of sex crimes charges. Maxwell, who knew more about Epstein’s operation than perhaps any other individual, went into hiding after Epstein’s death. Before disappearing, she also denied any involvement in Epstein’s operation, though at least one civil lawsuit, filed in 2009, alleges that Maxwell was Epstein’s partner and was directly involved in identifying and grooming girls for his ring.
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